G R E E N I N G IT. How GreenerIT CanFormaSolidBaseForaLow-Carbon Society

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2 G R E E N I N G IT How GreenerIT CanFormaSolidBaseForaLow-Carbon Society E D I T O R S : A D R I A N T. S O B O T TA I R E N E N. S O B O T TA J O H N G Ø T Z E

3 Copyright c 2009 The Greening IT Initiative CC Attribution Non-Commercial Share Alike This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial Share Alike License v3.0. To view a copy ofthis license visit: ISBN 13: ISBN 10: Printed in the World Draft First edition(published online): 2 December 2009 Draft Second edition(published online): 31 January 2010 First edition: 31 May 2010 i

4 Contents Acknowledgements Disclosure Foreword- By Connie Hedegaard, European Commissioner for Climate Action iv v vi 1 Prologue 1 2 OurTools WillNot Save Us This Time - by LaurentLiscia 4 3 Climate Change and the Low Carbon Society - by Irene N. Sobotta 16 4 Why Green IT Is Hard - An Economic Perspective - by Rien Dijkstra 29 5 Cloud Computing - by Adrian Sobotta 65 6 Thin Client Computing - by Sean Whetstone 89 7 SmartGrid-byAdrian Sobotta How IT Contributes to the Greening of the Grid - by Dr. George W. Arnold The Green IT Industry Ecosystem - by Ariane Rüdiger 140 ii

5 Contents 10 Out of The Box Ways IT Can Help to Preserve Nature and ReduceCO 2 -byflavio Souza From KPIs to the Business Case - Return on Investment on GreenIT?-byDominique C. Brack Computing Energy Efficiency - An Introduction - by Bianca Wirth AFutureView: Biomimicry + Technology - by Bianca Wirth Greening Supply Chains - The Role of Information Technologies - by Hans Moonen Epilogue 261 References 263 Index 270 iii

6 Acknowledgements The editors sincerely thank the international group of hard working contributors who took part in this book. All of them are committed to Green IT in their professional lives - setting an example for all of us. Thankyouforyoursupportandgreateffortsincontributingtothe book; it would not have been possible without your dedication. Thanks go out to the The League of Movable Type (http://www. theleagueofmoveabletype.com) for their efforts to start a true open typographic community and for making the fonts available which are used on the front cover of this book. We also extend thanks to Roberto Cecchi s for creating and subsequently releasing his Aierbazzi font which is also used on the front cover. All fonts used on the front cover are released under the SIL Open Font License (http: //scripts.sil.org/ofl). We also extend thanks and gratitude to Leonard Fintelman who assisted in the task of proof reading, Tripta Prashar (Director of UK based independent Green IT consultancy firm Giving Time and Solutions Ltd), Laurent Liscia, Sean Whetstone, Ariane Rüdiger and everyone else who have been instrumental in promoting the book. Finally we would like to thank all those who contacted us during the books evolution to voice their support and offer their feedback. iv

7 Disclosure This book represents a collection of works from contributors spanning the globe. Where necessary, permission was sought and granted to contributors from their respective employers to take part. All contributorsweremotivatedbyapersonaldesiretoexaminehowitcanhelp build a low-carbon society. The views, concepts and conclusions put forth by the contributors do not necessarily reflect those of their employersandmaynotbeendorsed by them. v

8 Foreword By Connie Hedegaard, European Commissioner for Climate Action Bringing climate change under control is one of the great historic challenges facing humanity in the 21st century. To succeed, the international community must reach an ambitious and comprehensive global agreement that provides the framework for worldwide action to keep global warming below dangerous levels. The most convincing leadership the European Union can provide is to become the most climate friendly region in the world. My goal is to make this happen over the next five years. It is emphatically in Europe s interest: it will stimulate greener economic growth, create new jobs and reduce our dependence on imported energy. The EU has already committed unilaterally to cutting our greenhouse gas emissions to at least 20% below 1990 levels by 2020, and we are now analysing the practical options for moving beyond that over the same period. The European Commission will then develop its vision for completing Europe s transition to a low carbon economy by 2050 including the necessary scenarios for This will require emission reductions of 80-95% by mid-century. vi

9 Foreword - By Connie Hedegaard, European Commissioner for Climate Action All sectors of the economy will need to contribute as fully as possible, and it is clear that information and communication technologies (ICTs) have a key role to play. ICTs are increasingly recognised as important enablers of the low-carbon transition. They offer significant potential - much of it presently untapped - to mitigate our emissions. ThisbookfocusesonthisfundamentalrolewhichICTsplayinthetransition to a low-carbon society. They can empower energy users and create completely new business opportunities. ICTs are already transforming the way we live and work, for instance by opening up possibilities for teleworking and videoconferencing. They make it possible to use energy more efficiently, for example in smart buildings where heating, ventilation, air conditioning, lighting and use of electrical and electronic devices are optimised. They are essential for creating the smart grids that will form the backbone of the low-carbon electricity system of the future. But ICTs have a carbon footprint too. Around 8% of the EU s electricity use and some 2% of its carbon emissions come from the ICT equipment and services and household electronics sector. So ICTs need to be greened if they are to be part of the solution and not exacerbate the problem. The EU has legislation in place to improve the overall environmental performance of energy using products such as TVs, personal computers and other consumer electronics. We are setting minimum standards under the EU s "Ecodesign Directive" that will make a wide range of products marketed in Europe more energy efficient. vii

10 Foreword - By Connie Hedegaard, European Commissioner for Climate Action But top-down legislation for specific products can be only part of the solution. The most promising way forward would be for the ICT sector to take the lead in greening itself. This is also likely to be the most economically efficient approach. Some companies are setting the example already and getting a head start. Connie Hedegaard viii

11 CHAPTER1 Prologue This book started out as two people s commitment to save the planet, andoneguycrazyenoughtosuggestthatabookwasthewaytodoit. Allthreeofuscannowcallourselvestheeditorsofthisexciting,internationally collaborative, and non-profit (Creative Commons licensed) project. Allow us to introduce ourselves: Irene & Adrian Sobotta and John Gøtze. Personally committed to contribute to solving human s impact on global warming, Irene and Adrian wanted to apply their professional fields of Environmental Politics and Information Technology to increase awareness of Green IT solutions. Using John s knowledge and experience in collaborative bookwriting, the Greening IT project was born. Our common underlying assumption is that there is something wrong with the world today! We perceive Climate Change and Global Warming as the effects of unsustainable consumption patterns in an industrialised world. In an effort to contribute to solving the problem, we look into the great potential of Information Technology (IT). The overall goal is to communicate to a large audience how IT can be leveraged to transform today s society into one characterised by low emissions of greenhouse gases. 1

12 Chapter 1 Prologue AlthoughwestronglybelievethatITispartofthesolution,wemust emphasise that we also do not believe in silver bullets and technical fixes. Assuch,theproblemandindeedthesolution,isattheendofthe day a question of human, social, cultural and political commitment. From the outset, the project was dependent on contributions from other committed souls around the globe. Thus, the book has been written as an internationally collaborative effort resulting in a compendium of works with a loose common thread, being Green IT. This approach allowed us to bring in expertise in various fields of Green IT and the environment, thus allowing for different approaches and perspectives onthepotentialofgreen IT. The contributors are situated in Denmark, United Kingdom, Germany, Netherlands, Switzerland, USA, Japan and Australia - a truly diverse team, which despite their geographical dispersion and cultural diversity, has communicated a unified message. That message being that IT is a strong and signficant enabler to transform our societies into those characterised by low-carbon footprints. The aim of the book is to look into how Information Technology cansupportsocietyinreducingco 2 emissions,savingenergyandoptimising resource utilisation - thus becoming greener and developing towards a low-carbon society. The book seeks to cover the general po- tentialofgreenit,aswellasthepotentialofanumberofspecifictech- 2

13 Chapter 1 Prologue nologies, such as Smart Grid and Cloud Computing. May the book fulfill its intentions and help lead us to the Low- Carbon Society. Enjoy! Adrian, Irene and John 3

14 CHAPTER2 Our Tools Will Not Save Us This Time One of the initiating questions for this internationally collaborative bookwas: howgreen hastheit industry been so far? From where I stand, that s the easiest one to answer, because we happen to have historical data. The answer is: not at all. Let me illustratebytellingmyownstory as a Web entrepreneur. As I write this, I am using a tool, which in some remote sense is descendedfromtherocksandsticksourancestorsonceusedinthesavannah. It s an IT tool, it s connected to the ubiquitous network(which ishelpingmeformthethoughtsandacquirethedatathatwillpopulate this piece), and it uses power brought to my home by Pacific Gas and Electric s transmission and distributions lines. The power is generated at a power plant not too far from my home, and there is some power loss on the line due to electrical resistance. The data published on the networktellsmethatonaveragethislossissomethinglike7.5%ofthe power pumped through the Grid. When I started my Web business back in 1997, I was proud of the fact that it was virtual business: the cool factor was certainly appealing. We weren t wasting money and resources on an office. We used 4

15 Chapter 2 Our Tools Will Not Save Us This Time - by Laurent Liscia very little paper. We traded in grey matter only - or did we? Soon enough, as we grew, we needed an office. While a large portion of the business remained virtual, we needed a centralised team to code apps anddeploywebsites;asetofofficeserversandtestbedsontopofour co-located machines; and numerous trips back and forth on airplanes and in taxis or rental cars to sell our stuff or simply stay in touch. Humansdon tdowelliftheycan treadeachother sfacialexpressionand gestures, another legacy from the savannah. They can do business, but they can t really build the kind of trust that makes a team more cohesive and effective. Not only did our carbon footprint (which was not called that at the time) increase, but the city where we operated from, Ottawa, didn t have a good recycling program for businesses. As it turned out we started using a lot of paper: brochures which nobody read, business cards, countless white papers and office memos, all kinds of administrative paper destined to a drawer, contracts and the like. The Gutenberg paradigm, which propelled our species into the industrial age as surely as the steam engine, was and is very much alive. And a lot of ourpaperwasendingup in wastebins. Of course, being in Ottawa, we had to heat our offices for most of theyear,andtherewasneverawaytoheatthemjustright: weerredon the side of too warm. We kept our neon sign on at night to remind the good people of Ottawa that we existed, and of course our machines, andsomeofourofficelightswereon24/7. Ilearnedthatthemachines we all used: the desktops, the big CRTs and even the laptops were electron guzzlers. Our IT staff advised us that it was best to leave our computers on all the time to minimise component wear and tear (wisdom that today no longer holds true), another blow to conservation. Meanwhile, global warming was taking centre stage as an issue. Kyoto was on everyone s mind. The most energy intensive nation in the world, the United States, would not be a signatory to the treaty. That s when I started thinking of IT s carbon footprint as an industry, 5

16 Chapter 2 Our Tools Will Not Save Us This Time - by Laurent Liscia and how thoroughly my illusions about IT and the Internet s environmental benefits (which turned out to be a complete fantasy from the get-go) were shattered. I did some research and discovered that a typicalfabconsumestremendousamountsofenergy 1. Italsogoesthrough whole lakes of water, puts out vast amounts of byproduct gases, and even more troubling, is getting less power efficient over time because new equipment is more power-hungry 2. As for the network, which some people have come to call the Cloud, it relies on huge data centers that store thousands of power-hungry servers, using at least 1.5% of all US power 3, and possibly 3% in another 2 years. This is more than all colour TVs combined. Speaking of which, there s another area where IT has made its mark: flat panel TVs are now nearly indistinguishable from computers - and as it turns out they use more energy than a conventional CRT. And if that weren t enough, what happens to our discarded IT equipment? There s lots of that, given the very short product cycles. Printer cartridges are piling up in Chinese landfills, heavy metals and chemicals from batteries and screens take up more and more space in our own waste management facilities, old cell phones, ipods, laptops, desktops, keyboards and the like end up underground with the rest of our garbage. But you know this, because like me, you ve thrown out your share of gadgets, and you too have squirmed in your ergonomic chair and wondered where it all goes. If I step back from this picture as a cultural observer, what would I be tempted to say? Not only has IT never been green, it s horrendously wasteful, it encourages people to discard and adopt the newest gadget in ever-shorter cycles of consumption and it pollutes as much as any other industry. It has also taken Schumpeter s creative destruction model of capitalism to a new and disturbing height, and changed our expectations around growth, seed capital and return on investment. And as new as it is, it has already caused its share of pain besides the gains: the 2001 dot.com bubble. Forgive me for stating the obvious, 6

17 Chapter 2 Our Tools Will Not Save Us This Time - by Laurent Liscia just beyond the rose-tinted glasses. What about the positives? That s the easy part: we all know about IT s contributions to productivity, knowledge dissemination, scientific advances and therefore, our global lifestyle. I do mean global: while many populations are underserved from an IT standpoint, they still benefit from the technologies that IT has enabled. I would be hardpressed, however, to identify a positive impact of the IT industry on the environment at this point in time, other than indirectly - again, as a tool that allows us to study changes in our environment with more accuracy. In my capacity as Executive Director of the Organisation for the Advancement of Structured Information Standards (OASIS), a standards body, I was taught a superb lesson in just how dependent the IT industry is on the power grid. Jon Bosak, best known for his eminent contributions to XML and also the Universal Business Language standard (UBL), has taken an interest in Peak Oil theory and its impact on our industry. It s still unclear when oil production will peak, but this event is not in our distant future, and possibly no farther than a half-century away. Because markets anticipate what happens down the road, we will feel the impact of this event well before it occurs - we already have. There will be more Oil crises, and chances are they will grow more severe each time. Because the network, both local and global,needspower,it snotastretchtoimagineatimewhenour free communication devices of today become too expensive to use. So far, the network has absorbed the variations in utility prices via increased productivity and growth, but no one can beat the laws of thermodynamics, especially when they combine with economics. The only way out of this quandary would be to draw our energy from sources other than fossil fuels: renewable fuels, alternative energy, nuclear, and some forms that we have not been able to tap into yet, such as fusion. There are problems with each one of these options, and the underlying belief isthattechnologycansave us as it has in thepast. 7

18 Chapter 2 Our Tools Will Not Save Us This Time - by Laurent Liscia Let me get back to that crucial point in a minute, but let s just say rightnowthativiewthatbeliefasafallacy,andsimplyamoderniteration of magical thinking. Another question at the core of this book is: are we witnessing a greening of the IT industry? Atthecurrentpointintime,yesandno,orrather,noandyes. Ifthe yardstick for green is reduction in carbon footprint, emissions and waste, then IT has not even begun to turn green - it will get blacker before it greens, just from sheer momentum. If the criteria, however, are adoption of sustainability practices, formulation of policies and pilot programs, then yes, the leaves are getting a green tinge at their edges. Some instances: data centers and hardware manufacturers have banded together to standardise the greening of their machines and facilities; device makers are talking about reducing packaging(although we have yet to see this happen); more and more low-power chips are comingtomarket;theenergystarprogramintheusisbeingadopted at a rapid clip, and this is making some IT devices more efficient. SimilarprogramshavebeenimplementedinEuropeandareunderwayin Asia. In my own sector: IT standards(which make it possible for software anddevicestotalktoeachother),i mhappytosaythatoasishasbeen devoting a considerable amount of effort to bringing about the Smart Grid (see chapter 7). This new power grid will be much more frugal than our current, dilapidated one, by allowing homes, buildings and factories to constantly communicate with the power generation and distribution system to only get what they need, and even sell back the power that they in turn generate from alternative energy systems, such as solar or wind power, and in future, fuel cells. This will revolutionise the power market, reduce the number of brown and blackouts, and create significant energy savings - possibly up to 25% of what we are using now. OASIS, my organisation, is involved in developing some of the key standards for the Smart Grid. 8

19 Chapter 2 Our Tools Will Not Save Us This Time - by Laurent Liscia Most of the greening we have been seeing, however, has nothing to do with the IT industry, or the goodwill of its executives. I would even argue that IT, when it comes to sustainability, is not anywhere near the forefront. The thought leadership is coming instead from a handful of visionary entrepreneurs such as Paul Hawken, academics like Jared Diamond, forward thinkers like Thomas Friedman and regulators - yes, regulators! Europe is well ahead of Asia and the US in this regard. If you walk the streets of Paris and you see a car advertised on a billboard, you will immediately notice its carbon credit or debit in very visible letters. Not what Chrysler or GM need right now, I realise. Then again, I would challenge Dell, HP, Apple and others to tell us exactly what the carbon footprint of their gizmos is. Here s a harmless prediction: Armageddon will come and go before we see that happen. Some optimistic souls feel that the embryonic greening of the IT industry can serve as a model for other industries. If the previous paragraph holds true, then the answer is: not at this point. Let s face it: as anindustry,weareliketheglamorousbutskinnymodelsonthecover of fashion magazines. We re so used to being sexy that we forgot we had an eating disorder. In our case, it s energy bulimia. That said, the perceived greening of IT is generating much punditry andanticipation,fromciomagazine 4 tofuturitymedia 5. Whyisthat? The answer to that deceptively simple question is, I believe, what really lies at the heart of our debate (well at least I hope it s a debate), and at therootofthisbook. Let sgoback200,000years-100timeslongerthanwhatwereferto rather chauvinistically as the Christian Era, and a mere blink in geological terms. According to anthropological data 6 all modern humans emerged in Sub-Saharan Africa around that time, as a diverse group with one remarkable characteristic: the ability to speak. Information technology was born. Using the brain as a repository, sounds became repeatable patterns, carrying predictable meanings. All other techni- 9

20 Chapter 2 Our Tools Will Not Save Us This Time - by Laurent Liscia cal developments are rooted in our ability to associate symbols with sounds: the perfection of tools for hunting, the rise of agriculture, the alphabet, philosophy, science, the printing press, take your pick. A further argument can be made that all dramatic modern human expansions and population growth spurts were supported by a technical innovation. Conversely, early declines in human colonies, as far back as 80,000 years ago, seem to have arisen from an inability to deal with local conditions, perhaps via the lack of appropriate tools. In very broad terms, first we conquered the variability of the food supply through agriculture. The rise of agriculture, mostly in the Fertile Crescent, had side effects of its own: populations grew, creating an addiction to successful crops; because of labour division, city states emerged, whose first order of the day was to enslave, draft or otherwise oppress its farmers, with the inevitable consequences of organised war, organised religion, epidemics and taxes. We recognise all the traits of our modern nations. For the most part, despite the cycles of famine and pandemics, there were never enough diebacks to halt the increase in our numbers. Even after the Black Plague, European population bounced back in very short order. And World War II, the bloodiest conflict in recorded history, was a mere blip. While we perceive the 20 th century as the most violent ever, in fact it was the safest, with a smaller percentage of humans dying a violent death than ever. Most deaths occurred locally from domestic conflict, starvation, accidents, illness and just plain criminality which was unimaginably rampant until the Industrial Revolution. In Guns Germs and Steel, Jared Diamond talks eloquently about the elaborate conflict avoidance rituals that still take place in Papua New Guinea because murder there is so commonplace. And that was the second thing we did as a species: through industry, hygiene and medicine, we suddenly made our population growth exponential and nearly unstoppable. Notions that a super-virus or global conflict will wipe us out are misinformed. What s amusing is 10

21 Chapter 2 Our Tools Will Not Save Us This Time - by Laurent Liscia that19 th centurythinkersdidnotbelievethatwehadinfactbrokenthe bounds of nature. Because the Irish Potato Famine was so spectacular, they thought that Nature would restore population balance through the economics of starvation. This had the following British theoretical manifestation: in one natural philosopher s thinking, too many children and wages would dip so low that entire neighbourhoods would die off until there were not enough workers left to fuel the plunge, and wages would go up again, until the next cycle. That was Malthus of course, and it was as callous as it was asinine. While wages were controlled by industrialists, thereby guaranteeing the rise of Communism as a nearly physical reaction to Industry, population kept growing through the relative prosperity created by new jobs. Thishasnotstoppedforthepasttwocenturies. Untilnow. Incauda venenum 7. The one clear lesson from the Neolithic is that human expansion has itscostinmiserybutalsoimpactsinunpredictablewaysthequalityof our survival as a species. If we look around, both geographically and historically, we find plenty of cautionary tales, and we must turn to Jared Diamond again to unlock their meaning. In Collapse, he chronicles the slow death of the Polynesian society that colonised Easter Island. They started out as a vibrant culture, one that had enough resources and know-how to carve those astonishing statues, that had abundant wood and farmlands, fresh water and space- until they grew too numerous. There came a day when they chopped down their last tree. Their crops were already failing, and their numbers had dwindled dramatically. It must have been a very ominous day. A few survivorsclungtotheislanduntiltheytoopassedon. Howcouldtheynot see this coming? How were they not able to evolve norms that would savethemfromthebrink? Ofcoursethesearethesuperiorthoughtsof hindsight. I think you know where I am going with this: we re doing thesame,andyet,wehavetonsmoreinformationatourfingertips. We haveourentireitarsenal. More on thisin a little bit. 11

22 Chapter 2 Our Tools Will Not Save Us This Time - by Laurent Liscia The desertification of the Fertile Crescent and the Sahara is an older but ongoing tale; and I suspect the growth of the inner Australian desert must have something to do with 40,000 years of human presence. Worse, our billions upon billions have turned the entire world into an island, albeit one floating in space. What I m getting at is that global warming, environmental degradation, water shortages are all symptoms of that one underlying cause: our numbers have already spun out of control. In our defence, no one has figured out a solution. Having travelled far and wide, I find claims that certain wise cultures have found ways to live in harmony with their environment somewhat hollow. As for animals, they are subject to the very boom and bust laws that Malthus described, compounded by our constant encroachment and pollution. We humans only now understand how to address the problem. The Chinese, in a rather fascistic way, have imposed the one child ruled - butthiswouldneverflyinindia,forinstance,whichneedsitfarworse. The West is seeing natural demographic declines; and if truth be told, this is happening everywhere prosperity is taking root and women are empowered to control reproduction. The latter factor is the more importantone: ifwomenhavejobsandareallowedtochoosewhetherto getpregnantornot,they are much more likely to have fewer children. In that scenario, children are no longer a labour pool, and the relationship between children and parents turns into what we are used to in more prosperous societies. Therefore,inoneview,wecouldjustwaitforthesevaluestospread worldwideandsolveourproblems-butdowehavethatkindoftime? AndcanwesustainAsia sdemandforthesamelevelofluxurythatwe have been used to? Then again, who are we to say no to the newly affluent populations? We have reached an unprecedented point in our history: a planetary maturation event. If there were some galactic classification of civilisa- 12

23 Chapter 2 Our Tools Will Not Save Us This Time - by Laurent Liscia tions, we would probably count as a child species entering the end of its childhood, and the throes of adulthood. It seems the aliens are not aroundtotellushowtoplayourcards. Wearelefttoourowndevices, andwearestrugglingtofindwaystonotsoilourchrysalisanyfurther. How does any of this relate to the greening of IT? Some argue that our salvation is in technology and therefore in our IT tools. Perhaps - in this writer s opinion, our tools have been working against us, and weneedtore-appropriatethemforourbenefit. ITisatooloftools,the reflection of the shift that has transformed all information into bytes. IT can assist in our green quest indirectly: by underlying biological and demographic models, for instance, and helping us make more informed decisions as a species; by creating the medium for global consciousness; by reducing the need for travel(although my perception is that it has increased said need); by helping us devise the technologies that will contribute to our survival. Its own greening will matter less in the bigger societal picture: while it may yet prove to be exemplary, if the other contributions to this collective opus hold true, it may not turn out to be impactful in and of itself. But it will certainly provide moral solace to technologists, a great marketing story for tech companies, and it may save a few kilowatts in the process. What we need to watch for are the megawatts and raw materials it will help save indirectly. Laurent Liscia San Francisco, United States of America- November 2009 Laurent Liscia is the Executive Director at OASIS, provides leadership, operational oversight, and strategic vision for the consortium. He represents OASIS in the international arena, serving as an advocate for open standards in matters of policy and adoption. Laurent also develops new opportunities to extend the breadth and depth of future OASIS 13

24 Chapter 2 Our Tools Will Not Save Us This Time - by Laurent Liscia work. Prior to joining OASIS, he co-founded several Web-related companies, including Traackr and Webmotion. Laurent served as a Media Attaché for French Foreign Affairs and has worked in France, Canada, Italy, Ecuador, Morocco and the United States. He holds a doctorate from the Sorbonne University and speaks English, French, Italian, and Spanish. Laurent is based in San Francisco. 14

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